Byron Bay Railroad Company

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Byron Bay Railroad Company
Railmotor 726-661 stands at Byron Beach Platform, Byron Bay. 3-11-17.jpg
726 at Byron Beach platform in November 2017
OwnerNorth Byron Beach Resort
LocaleByron Bay
Transit typeHeritage railway
Number of stations2
Began operation16 December 2017
Number of vehicles1
A section of disused track on the Murwillumbah line

The Byron Bay Railroad Company (also known as the Byron Bay Train) is a not-for-profit passenger rail operator serving Byron Bay, New South Wales operating on a three kilometre section of the disused Casino-Murwillumbah line. Operations commenced in December 2017.

The company has converted a 1949 built 600 class railcar to solar power for use on the line.


The first section of the Murwillumbah line (which the Byron Bay Train uses) opened between Lismore and Murwillumbah, connecting the Richmond and Tweed rivers. Passengers and goods were transported to Sydney by coastal shipping from Byron Bay. Nine years later, an extension from Lismore to Casino opened (and later south to Grafton – it was not until 1932 that the line was fully connected to Sydney). The line became a branch line when in 1930, the North Coast line was extended from Kyogle to South Brisbane.[1]The Casino-Murwillumbah railway was closed in 2004, with the last NSW CountryLink XPT train leaving Murwillumbah on 15 May 2004.

The section of track to the north of the town centre has been fully restored by private investment at a cost of about $300,000 per kilometre.[2]. Track work on the section commenced on 23 May 2016 and was completed in late November 2016. New platforms and a storage shed were completed in April 2017, the focus is now on the recruitment and training of drivers, station staff and the testing of the train prior to the commencement of passenger services by Christmas 2017.[3] It was confirmed in early January 2017 the train would run on solar-hybrid operation. The solar service is believed to be a world first.[4][5]

Operations commenced on 16 December 2017.[1][6][7] The service carried over 10,000 passengers in its first 19 days.[8] One year later in January 2019, the train carried its 100,000th passenger.


The Byron Bay Railroad Company operates a single railmotor. Power car 661, along with trailer 761, was built at Chullora Railway Workshops in 1949 as 601/701. In 1973, it was upgraded with its GM Detroit Diesel 6/71 engines replaced with Cummins NT855-R2 engines and was subsequently renumbered 661/761. Withdrawn by the State Rail Authority in the early 1990s, it was sold to the Lithgow State Mine Heritage Park & Railway.

After 761 was destroyed by a bushfire, the 1960s-built trailer 726 was acquired as a replacement. It was restored to service in 2015 and operated a few charters on the Gwabegar line to Rylstone and Main Western line to Tarana.[9][10][11] In 2017, it was converted to solar-hybrid operation. The conversion was completed in October 2017, and the railmotor was moved from Lithgow by road, arriving on 3 November 2017.[12][13] Electricity will be supplied from the grid when there is insufficient solar and the train is intended to run on diesel fuel about once a week.[14]

The railmotor has a seating capacity of 100 people.[15] It is believed to be the world's first solar-powered train.[16][17]


The train operates a return shuttle between North Beach station located in Sunrise Beach and Byron Beach station, which serves the beach and Byron township. Due to the service not being subsidised by the government, the timetable will be reviewed from time to time. The train contains room for bikes, prams and surfboards, which can be carried free of charge.[15][18] It does not use the existing station as this would have required the reinstatement of a level crossing.[1]

The North Beach station is located on Bayshore Drive, near the Sun Bistro Tavern and Elements of Byron Resort. The Byron Beach station is located on the northern side of the Lawson Street level crossing in the Byron Bay CBD.


Passengers aged 0–5 years ride free, with those aged 6–13 travelling for $2, and passengers fourteen and up travelling for $3 on a one-way journey. A 10-ride adult ticket is available for $27.[15]


  1. ^ a b c "Byron Bay Railroad Company" Railway Digest March 2018 pages 50-54
  2. ^ "Rail costings put govt study into doubt – Echonetdaily". 16 December 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  3. ^ "Train hits track, powered by solar – Echonetdaily". Echonetdaily. 7 November 2017. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  4. ^ "Byron Bay Train " History". Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  5. ^ Broome, Hamish. "World-first Byron rail line to create 19 jobs". Northern Star. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
  6. ^ World first solar train now leaving the platform in Byron Bay with zero emissions ABC News 17 December 2017
  7. ^ Solar train enters service in Byron Bay Rail Express 18 December 2017
  8. ^ Broome, Hamish. "Solar train clocks 10,000 passengers after 19 days". Northern Star. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  9. ^ Our Rolling Stock Lithgow State Mine Railway
  10. ^ Rylstone line to re-open for show train Mudgee Guardian 18 January 2016
  11. ^ "Byron Bay Train " History". Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  12. ^ Lithgow-tech: Solar powered train to run Byron Bay Circuit Lithgow Mercury 31 October 2017
  13. ^ Huge milestone as solar train arrives in Byron The Northern Star 3 November 2017
  14. ^ BURKE, JASMINE. "Byron Bay rail revived after 13 years with solar train". Northern Star. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  15. ^ a b c "Byron Bay Train " Service". Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  16. ^ Affleck, John (2 August 2017). "World's first true solar train to run through Byron Bay". Gold Coast Bulletin.
  17. ^ "World-first "solar train" about to be launched in Byron Bay". RenewEconomy. 27 October 2017. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  18. ^ "North Byron Beach Resort " Byron Bay train". Retrieved 29 October 2017.

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